Uric acid: A new look at an old risk marker for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes mellitus: The urate redox shuttle

Hayden, Melvin R.; Tyagi, Suresh C.
January 2004
Nutrition & Metabolism;2004, Vol. 1, p10
Academic Journal
Background: The topical role of uric acid and its relation to cardiovascular disease, renal disease, and hypertension is rapidly evolving. Its important role both historically and currently in the clinical clustering phenomenon of the metabolic syndrome (MS), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), atheroscleropathy, and non-diabetic atherosclerosis is of great importance. Results: Uric acid is a marker of risk and it remains controversial as to its importance as a risk factor (causative role). In this review we will attempt to justify its important role as one of the many risk factors in the development of accelerated atherosclerosis and discuss its importance of being one of the multiple injurious stimuli to the endothelium, the arterial vessel wall, and capillaries. The role of uric acid, oxidative - redox stress, reactive oxygen species, and decreased endothelial nitric oxide and endothelial dysfunction cannot be over emphasized. In the atherosclerotic prooxidative environmental milieu the original antioxidant properties of uric acid paradoxically becomes prooxidant, thus contributing to the oxidation of lipoproteins within atherosclerotic plaques, regardless of their origins in the MS, T2DM, accelerated atherosclerosis (atheroscleropathy), or non-diabetic vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. In this milieu there exists an antioxidant - prooxidant urate redox shuttle. Conclusion: Elevations of uric acid > 4 mg/dl should be considered a "red flag" in those patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and should alert the clinician to strive to utilize a global risk reduction program in a team effort to reduce the complications of the atherogenic process resulting in the morbid - mortal outcomes of cardiovascular disease.


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